How the Nürburgring helps to develop automobiles of the long term

How the Nürburgring is helping to develop cars of the future


Think about it or not, motorsport is one of the best ways to develop technology. Whether or not or not it’s Mercedes in Formula One, or Audi and Toyota throughout the World Endurance Championship (WEC), carmakers are going racing to develop cutting-edge tech at a speedy tempo – and it’s the an identical for tyres. Falken is taken into account considered one of Japan’s foremost tyre firms, and it’s innovating not merely in a lab, nevertheless at one of many well-known, old-school tracks on the planet: the Nürburgring.

Lurking throughout the foggy mists of the Eifel mountains and surrounded by dense forest, the Nordschleife or Nürburgring oozes racing folklore, and looks as if a monitor frozen in time. Dubbed the Inexperienced Hell by three-times world champion Jackie Stewart, the 25km-long circuit has escaped quite a lot of the tinkering and sanitisation you’d depend on in 2016 – and that makes it the ultimate phrase verify for tyres. That’s why ultimate weekend Falken took its private Porsche 911 GT3R to the N24, a gruelling 24-hour race spherical one of many demanding tracks on the planet.


Why the Nürburgring?

The N24 isn’t refined like trendy tracks similar to Yas Marina or Silverstone. In its place it’s a patchwork of robust and straightforward tarmac, and abrasive banking identical to the Carousel: “The N24 offers a circuit which can ship numerous ground and local weather circumstances, multi perform lap. A variety of the monitor is somewhat just like the roads you drive on,” Stephan Cimbal, head of promoting at Falken Tyre Europe, tells us. “There are bumps, ground and camber modifications, along with kerbs and lots of guests. It offers a incredible venue to verify tyres to the prohibit however moreover current how the tyres perform in opposition to the rivals.”

This yr’s N24 was one of many chaotic ever, with the local weather participating in an unlimited perform in proceedings. Baking scorching local weather at first of the race was adopted by torrential rain and HUGE hailstones, inflicting the race to be stopped. After the restart, temperatures plunged as night crept over the ring, and the rain began to drizzle as soon as extra. “That’s real-world, perhaps extreme, but it surely certainly offers the simplest place to get such assorted circumstances,” says Falken’s Cimbal. And because the 88-corner Nordschleife is so huge, automobiles wanted to deal with very completely totally different local weather circumstances on completely totally different parts of the monitor.


The place do the tyres go?

After a powerful exhibiting on the Nordschleife, Falken’s tyres in the meanwhile are making their choice to Japan, the place engineers will analyse them to the nth diploma. “We decrease them down and ship sections once more to Japan to be analysed along with X-rays and totally different inspection strategies,” explains Cimbal. “They check out how the event and chemical compounds have reacted all through the race, evaluating them to the data on the car. We’ll moreover check out placed on and resistance to wreck. Our Porsche is an precise development lab!”

In spite of everything, like most firms, Falken moreover makes use of simulation fashions to verify their designs sooner than a tyre is even produced. Considered one of many agency’s newest tyres was partially developed on a supercomputer usually used for native climate simulation.

What’s the data for?

Falken goes to extreme lengths on account of trendy tyres are deceptively superior, and our requires on them are rising by the day. “A tyre has spherical 200 parts, and each has a process to play: help the load of the automotive; soak up vibration and shock from the freeway; ship traction, torque and braking forces from the car’s drivetrain; and assist with the route of journey,” says Cimbal.

“Tyres have to satisfy quite a few requires – gasoline monetary system, moist grip, dry grip, protected braking, placed on, noise, comfort and steering response. So that you simply’re looking out for the simplest effectivity you could, deciding which attributes are essential in your software program.”


Along with shifting within the route of an whole improve in effectivity, tyre makers are moreover now searching for to cater their merchandise within the route of completely totally different autos. “As an illustration, for an EV we have to have truly low rolling resistance, nevertheless for a sports activities actions car, we would emphasise grip together with additional driver involvement,” gives Cimbal. “You’ll see tyres flip into additional explicit to the car and software program. We already make explicit variations of some of our tyres for a selected car, similar to our tyre for the newest VW Passat.”

Data from the N24 may also go within the route of constructing tyres free of unsustainable fossil fuels: “Falken has already confirmed a fossil-free tyre, the ENSAVE 100, manufactured from 100% pure raw provides. Common tyres now use spherical 60% synthetic supplies,” says Cimbal. “Along with their obvious eco-friendly benefits, ENASAVE 100 tyres are claimed to placed on larger and ship larger gasoline effectivity and wet-grip effectivity.”

The know-how trickle down has already begun

Although trickle down sometimes looks as if a gimmick, firms truly do examine a lot from racing, and the benefits rapidly attain the freeway. “We have quite a lot of utilized sciences that are straight descended from N24 racing. The race spec compound utilized in a couple of of our high-performance tyres obtained right here from our race tyres,” confirms Cimbal. “We moreover use the an identical tyre-bead profile – the half that holds the tyre on the rim – on our freeway tyres after finding out which one labored best on our race car. Our race drivers similar to Peter Dumbreck moreover drive our freeway tyres and provide recommendations. They are going to communicate to our engineers about points they actually really feel, sometimes feelings you could’t get with simulators.”

This yr, the Falken Motorsports car accomplished the race in ninth after ending 130 laps, and although that signified the highest of the race, it’s merely one different chapter in Falken’s programme to boost freeway tyres.

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